KOCHI: The tenuous truce in the Malayalam tinsel world was torn asunder, with the Kerala Film Producers Association (KFPA) on Monday announcing their intention to stop production work and new releases from December 16, following a tiff with the Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation (KFEF)over the sharing of theatre collection.
In the absence of efforts to broker peace between the two sides, the move will put the brakes on the bumper stride of the industry for almost a year and create uncertainty over the release of six movies slated for Christmas release.
“We don’t have any option other than to stop production and release of new films as the exhibitors demand more share from the screens. They are not providing any extra service but, nonetheless, raking in money from various sources,” said M Renjith, KFPA. And he added that the producers now had to depend on theatre collection since they no longer could rely on revenue from sale of satellite rights.“ Now we have to depend on the theatre collection as we cant depend on sale of satellite rights. Think of a ticket where 25 per cent is deducted as tax. Then the rest of the revenue is shared between producers and theatre owners in 60:40 ratio in A/c thetares and 65: 35 in non A/c theatres. We get collection only from the tickets while theatre owners make money directly from advance reservation, advertisement, food and beverages and parking. So the demand cannot be accepted,” said Renjith.KFEF president Liberty Basheer, on his part, said,” We demand a share of the revenue on par with that of the screens in the multiplexes in the shopping complexes.”
According to Basheer, the theatre owners are treated shabbily compared to those running the Multiplexes. “ We make advance payment while they share the revenue only after the films are no longer screened.They don’t have to pay for publicity while have to. We have to give representative share too. But despite all these they get a 52: 48 share in their favour,” he said.
Basheer, further, alleged that though the government-run theatres, which are better equipped, received only 60:40 share a theatre complex in Thodupuzha owned by a group close to a big star was given a revenue sharing of 50: 50. “ We want this to be rectified,” he said.
As for the increased collection, Renjith attributed it to the improved quality of films. “Now people are flocking to theatres as there is a shift from new generation films to that of flicks with family themes,” he said.
However, Renjith and Basheer were unanimous in their view that the condition of theatres had vastly improved. “Now, the quality of the theatres have changed following Ganeshkumar’s initiatives during his stint as minister. Most of them have the same facilities as those of multiplexes,” they said.